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Jun 14, 2010 12:35 PM by Melissa Canone

Obama set out on a three-state tour of the oil-tainted Gulf Coast

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - As President Barack Obama set out on a
three-state tour of the oil-tainted Gulf Coast Monday, the White
House said BP appears willing to set up the kind of independent
victims' compensation fund that the president is demanding.
Obama spokesman Bill Burton, speaking to reporters traveling
with the president on Air Force One to the Gulf, said that the
White House and BP are "working out the particulars," such as the
amount of the fund and how it will be administered. Burton said the
account would be run by an independent third-party entity and would
run into "the billions of dollars," though he wouldn't give a
specific amount.
"We're confident that this is a critical way in which we're
going to be able to help individuals and businesses in the Gulf
area become whole again," Burton said.
BP's board was meeting Monday in London to discuss deferring its
second-quarter dividend and putting the money into escrow until the
company's liabilities from the spill are known. BP spokeswoman
Sheila Williams had said earlier that the company was aware of the
White House's demand for a compensation fund, but declined to
comment further.
The White House had said that Obama was prepared to force BP, if
necessary, to set up the fund. Burton said Monday that Obama aides
are "confident we have the legal authority" to do that.

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